On 25 August, the Africa Regional Certification Commission certified the World Health Organisation (WHO) African region as wild polio-free after four years without a case. With this historic milestone, five of the six WHO regions – representing over 90% of the world's population – are now free of the wild poliovirus, moving the world closer to achieving global polio eradication. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) congratulated the national governments of the 47 countries in the WHO African Region for the achievement.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries worldwide that continue to see wild poliovirus transmission.
Strong leadership and innovation were instrumental in stopping the wild poliovirus in the region. Countries successfully coordinated their efforts to overcome major challenges to immunising children, such as high levels of population movement, conflict and insecurity restricting access to health services, and the virus's ability to spread quickly and travel across borders.
The resources and expertise used to eliminate wild polio have significantly contributed to Africa's public health and outbreak response systems.
The WHO African Region's success against wild polio has shown the world that progress against some of the biggest global health challenges is possible.
While this is a remarkable milestone, we must not become complacent. The GPEI calls on countries and donors to remain vigilant against all forms of polio. Until every strain is eradicated worldwide, the incredible progress made against polio globally will be at risk.